Ian Shires

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Willenhall North Ward, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Walsall MBC Learn more

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Boris backtracks on cross-party social care solution

by Ian Shires on 14 January, 2020

Image result for lgc logoPublished on the Local Government Chronicle 14 JANUARY 2020 BY 

Prime minister Boris Johnson has said the government’s majority means it will present a plan for adult social care this year and implement it within this parliament, having previously pledged to seek cross-party consensus on the issue.

In a BBC interview this morning, his first this year, Mr Johnson said a sustainable solution to the social care funding crisis was “potentially a massive change” and involves “quite a lot of moral and social issues”.

After taking office in July last year, Mr Johnson said the government had a “clear plan” to “fix the crisis in social care once and for all”.

However, the Conservative manifesto said it would begin cross-party talks on social care as a priority in its first 100 days in power.

This morning, he said “because we have the majority we need” the government would “deal with this so people get the care they need in their old age but won’t have to sell their homes to pay for this care.”

He later added: “We will bring forward a plan this year, but we will get it done in this parliament.”

Mr Johnson was then challenged on why it would take a five-year parliament to implement reforms.

In response, he said: “It is a big, big thing. This is a potentially massive change in the way we fund social care and we have got to get it right.

“We have got to think very carefully about how we do it because there are quite a lot of important moral and social issues contained in it.

“Should taxpayers be paying for people who might be able to afford things, or [is] the relationship between families that you want to encourage? Should families look after their elderly relatives?

“All these are very complex questions. The key thing is that everybody must have dignity in their old age; nobody should have to sell their home to pay for the cost of their care and we will do that.”

The spending round for next year provided councils with an extra £1bn for both adult and children’s social care and allowed councils to set an adult social care precept of up to 2%, which would provide £0.5bn if all councils opt to do this.

Number 10 has been contacted for further comment.

Mr Johnson also said he wants to end county lines drugs gangs who exploit vulnerable people including children to sell drugs outside cities.

“They are reducing the quality of life for people across our country, they are killing young kids. I want to see that thing totally wound up,” he added.

The County Council Network’s environment and communities spokesperson Sam Corcoran (Lab) said Mr Johnson’s comments show tackling county lines operations “is a real priority for this government”.

“This is a complex issue, and one that will need local organisations working together to eradicate county lines in their areas,” he added. “County authorities must be part of any solution and need adequate levels of funding to protect vulnerable young people who end up being exploited by drugs gangs.”

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